Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu


Dr Will Johnson 


  • This AHRC funded project will produce the first complete translation by Simon Brodbeck and Will Johnson of the critically reconstituted text of the Sanskrit Harivamsha. The Harivamsha, or ‘Family of Krishna’, is traditionally classified as an ‘Appendix’ to the great Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata, although in terms of length (118 chapters) it might be considered an epic in its own right. One of the Harivamsha’s major points of interest for historians of religion is that it contains the earliest extended account of the life of Krishna, including many of the subsequently well-known stories about his childhood and youth. Part of the Cardiff project is to make this material available to students of religion and world literature in a one volume, literary translation.

                Apart from raising acute questions about the strategies best employed in rendering an epic text of this kind into English, the process of translation will provide the opportunity for close scrutiny of the text-critical method that was used to reconstitute the Sanskrit text. This, in turn, will allow for a re-evaluation of the relationship between the Harivamsha and the Mahabharata, thereby opening a new approach to studies of the ancient Indian epics. The findings of this research will be made available through a number of seminar papers and articles. The whole project will culminate in a book launch and public readings from the new translation.

     Funded by AHRC, Project value £266,975, Duration Three Years

  • The Master Madam: a new translation of the earliest Sanskrit comedy (Bhagavadajjukam)

    The aim is to publish and contrast two translations of this Sanskrit text – one academic, the other for contemporary performance. A commentary will be provided in the light of two public performances given in Cardiff in 2012.

  • Text, translation and interpretation of the Early Krishna story: The Cardiff Harivamsha project
  • The Oxford Handbook of Hindu Literature